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Bulls stay the course at 2-guard

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



There has been much speculation of late about the Bulls making a trade to upgrade the shooting guard position, which clearly is the weak link on a young and talented roster.

But despite a slew of names circulating on the Internet ­— Stephen Jackson and O.J. Mayo being the most prominent — it appears the trio of Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver will continue to log most of the minutes for the time being.

According to an NBA source, no deal is imminent or even likely — even though the Bulls have had recent talks with a few teams.

Although professional sports is a business in which teams standing pat often are passed by, making no move makes the most sense for the Bulls because none of the scenarios being thrown out would make them championship contenders.

A few of the proposals would hurt their chances of joining the league’s elite in the next two or three years. The worst thing the Bulls could do is make a move to win a few more games (and possibly a playoff series) by reducing their flexibility going forward. With a core of Derrick Rose, 22, Joakim Noah, 25, Luol Deng, 25, and Carlos Boozer, 28, the Bulls have to plan for the long term.

Although fans don’t want to hear it, there also are implications with the league’s salary cap to consider.

For instance, let’s say the Bulls were to complete a deal for Jackson, the Charlotte Bobcats’ 6-8 swingman. He certainly is the kind of three-point shooter who could take pressure off of Rose, but Jackson, 32, would be headed for retirement just about the time Rose and others are peaking.

Then there are the salary-cap implications. Jackson, who is making $8.45 million this season, has two years and $19.2 million left on his contract after this season.

Under the cap rules, making that kind of financial commitment to a 32-year-old player wouldn’t be a wise investment and would result in a huge luxury-tax bill for the last two years of Jackson’s contract.

But if the owners are successful in reducing player compensation and instituting more of a hard cap in the next collective-bargaining agreement that will be hammered out before next season, trading for Jackson would be a disastrous deal that could lead to a fire sale like the Blackhawks experienced over the summer.

Mayo, 23, is much younger and fits better with the Bulls’ core, but trading for him creates the same potential cap problems down the road because Mayo is on his rookie contract and would have to be signed to an extension in a year or two.

Then there’s the price tag of what it would take to get a player such as Mayo. The Memphis Grizzlies likely would only deal him if the offer were huge.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman has some attractive assets to use as trade bait in second-year forward Taj Gibson, rookie center Omer Asik and the first-round draft pick the Bulls acquired from the Charlotte Bobcats in the Tyrus Thomas deal last season, but his best move might be to wait because each of those assets only figures to get more valuable in the near future.

Besides, with Noah out until late February or March, trading Gibson or Asik would create another hole. Then, too, the Bulls (20-10) are winning at a higher rate than anyone expected.

It looks as if coach Tom Thibodeau will have to make do with Bogans, Brewer and Korver at shooting guard. Thibodeau also has the option of using backup point guard C.J. Watson there for a few minutes when the matchups allow.

If the Bulls make a trade, a minor deal close to the February deadline for someone like Anthony Parker or Daniel Gibson of the Cleveland Cavaliers seems more realistic.



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